I was seeing my first girlfriend when I was in school, aged 15. We kept it secret from everybody, including the few friends I had because we were scared how they’d react.It was 1996/7 and although we had a few open LGBT celebrities it was not something that a lot of people spoke about, especially at school or at home because of our religion. HIV was still seen as the ‘gay disease’ and lesbians were viewed as ‘butch women trying to be men’, and we were teenagers left confused by the way we felt about each other.
I lived in a religious household and not only did I feel guilty about what we were doing but also hid it from everyone until I had moved out of home at 16.
I remember playing the ways I was going to tell them so many times, but one Sunday, when I went round for a family meal the opportunity came so I just took it.
When I told them that I thought I was with a girl and that we were in love, that I was gay, my mother told me that I was ‘disgusting’ and that I ‘shouldn’t say things like that’ and that I better not tell anyone because it’ll make our family look bad. She started shouting at me and I cried knowing that I should’ve just kept my mouth shut. My step father got really angry and told me that I was just saying that to provoke a reaction and to take it back. Even my sister said the same, that I was trying to be ‘cool’ and tried to get me to tell her the girl’s name. I didn’t. And even to this day only a handful of people knew. I was devastated.
We didn’t talk about it ever again because I knew that if I was even to attempt to that I was going to be shouted at or worse.
The guilt was so bad that I ended up splitting up with the first person I’d ever loved. We both had no experience of what we were going through and left us both a mess.
Even now I am faced with ridicule for being openly pansexual. The amount of times I’ve heard ‘you have sex with pans’ or ‘you’re just bisexual then, greedy’ from friends, family members and even strangers online.
I am so proud of who I am today.
Gender and sexuality are unique and personal, don’t make it your place to judge because we’re all just human. 🖤